The Dubliners have been struck by tragedy several times over the years.
In 1974, one of the founding members, Ciaran Bourke, suffered a brain haemorrhage while performing in concert.
He recovered well enough to make a brief comeback but then suffered a relapse.
He was left paralysed on the left side of his body and he was never able to perform again.
Versatile musician who sang in Irish
Ciaran Bourke was a very versatile musician who played several instruments including guitar, tin whistle and harmonica.
He was the only member of the band to have a university education and took a lot of ribbing from the others who didn’t. He was a fluent Gaelic speaker and sang many of his songs in Irish.
The Dubliners kept Bourke’s place in the band open during his illness and continued to share their earnings with him right up until the time he died in 1988.
Luke Kelly collapses on stage
Tragedy was to strike the band a second time when Luke Kelly developed a brain tumour in 1980. It limited his ability to perform and at times he was only able to join the band in concert for a few songs.
On one occasion he collapsed on stage while performing in Germany, a country in which the Dubliners had been particularly popular. He died at the age of 44 in 1984.
Sean Cannon was left with the unenviable task of replacing the irreplaceable Luke Kelly but he succeeded admirably and has been with the band ever since.
Bobby Lynch takes his own life
The singer and guitarist Bobby Lynch joined The Dubliners in 1964 when Luke Kelly left temporarily to pursue a solo career.
He left a year later when Kelly returned. Lynch pursued a solo career as a singer/songwriter and had some success in Canada and the United States as well as in Ireland.
He released his last album called From the Land of Carolan in 1980.
Tragically, Bobby Lynch took his own life in 1982.
The death of Ronnie Drew from cancer
In 2008, at the age of 72, Ronnie Drew was diagnosed with throat cancer.
He underwent treatment at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin and recovered well enough to appear on Irish television to discuss his illness.
He was also able to perform at a Legends of Irish Folk concert in Ireland. It was to be his last performance.
Ronnie Drew died in Dublin on 16th August in 2008.
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